Learning from best practice in the glamping industry and the health crisis, about using new technology to lighten the workload of short-stay hosts without losing the human element that our guests want and need.
Connecting With Guests Using Automation
In this episode, I speak to Andy McNulty from TouchStay about industry best practice and how we can enhance our guests’ experiences using new technology.
Getting this right can help us build:
- Stronger relationships with guests
- A better experience
- Brilliant reviews more often
- Higher chance of guests rebooking again
- All without increasing our workload.
Today’s episode is brought to you by the Start Up And Grow Club, which offers an accelerator program for those who want to set up their unique holiday rental or glamping businesses quickly.
The Glamping Business Podcast Shownotes
Additional Resources And Links Mentioned
- Connect with Andy McNulty from TouchStay
- Beside the Sea Holidays
- Example Touch Stay guides glamping hosts are using the engage with their guests
- The Green Lodge
- The Start Up And Grow Club – An accelerator start-up program for new hosts and owners
- Contact Sarah Riley through Inspired Courses
- The Ultimate Glamping Business Guide
- Guest Booking Success Marketing Masterclass
- The Glamping Business Facebook Group (+ Unique Holiday Rentals)
- Tools and resources in the Inspired Courses VIP Lounge
- How To Start A Glamping Business
Listen to the podcast here:
- iTunes (Apple)
- Stitcher (Android)
- Libsyn (App for smartphones)
- Spotify (Smart Player)
- Soundcloud (Smart Player)
Want To Feature On The Business Of Glamping And Unique Holiday Rentals Podcast?
If you have something inspiring to offer the world of Glamping and Unique Holiday Rentals then get in touch with Sarah Riley and share it on the Podcast. For more information contact Sarah here.
Listen to previous episodes here:
Sarah Riley: As a host in the hospitality industry, can you use automation and new technology to connect with your guests without getting overwhelmed and without losing the human touch here, we learn from best practice and what others are doing to reduce their workload. And yet continue to get rave reviews. Welcome to episode 36
Sarah Riley: Glamping and unique holiday rentals are surging in popularity with the growing desire of customers to book holidays that deliver unexperience. They are also the new business of choice for those wanting to improve their work-life balance. How do you build a strong business like this that gives you the life you need and a great investment. I’m Sarah Riley. And I want to share what I’ve discovered after being immersed in this industry for over 20 years, to inspire you to find out more about what’s going on. Welcome. This is the business, the glamping and unique holiday rentals. Hello, welcome. Thank you for joining me. There’s been a lot
Sarah Riley: Of lessons learnt in 2020, and actually after lockdown one, there were numerous lessons learned, especially around cleaning. How are we going to keep our spaces clean for our guests to keep them safe and keep us safe Actually, at the beginning of that process, I started getting questions from my members, asking me if I had any suggestions about how they could digitalize their information, that they were sharing about their business, about fantastic things to do in the area while guests were staying with them about all of those little snippets of information that you have to share with your guests around check-in and check out and how to get things ordered. All of those really important things to help make a guest stay wonderful, but they didn’t want to include it in the space anymore as a physical item, because all those physical items would now need to be cleaned.
Sarah Riley: So as a result, I went out and found a business touch stay, and Andy who was there, who helped us go through the process of digitalizing, the information that members were providing into a digital guest book. So this was something that worked really well during lockdown. One, many members took it on and even shared a fantastic little discount because of the pressures that everyone was feeling at the time, if you want to use that discount to, and he has agreed that I can pass it on it’s glamp 10, if you go to touch stay and you will also want to set up a digital guest book that will give you 10% off and what that has done, it’s allowed us to really understand how we can use new technology in a way that actually rather than reducing the human touch, it actually enhances the human touch and it helps to welcome guests before they’ve even arrived at your premises.
Sarah Riley: And then while they’re there, it gives them all the information and everything they need to know to make sure they enjoy their stay. And then following that to encourage them to make a repeat booking or even to leave a review when they’ve left now it’s working out incredibly well. And it got me asking, are there any other things we can do Are there any other bits and pieces, new technology, things that we can embrace and use to help our guests enjoy their, stay more to reduce the burden on the host because it’s quite time-consuming to constantly have all these human touch points with the guest. What can we do to actually help remove those pressures So I got back on a call with Andy to talk about the best practice and snippets of gold out there that we can all learn from to help lighten the load and enhance customer service.
Sarah Riley: At the same time. This episode is brought to you by the startup and grow club, which offers an accelerator program and a support group for those who want to set up their unique holiday rental and glamping business quickly. So if you want to build your support system, so you can build your business, go to inspired courses.com forward slash club. So over to Andy. So thank you so much, Andy, for joining me. And it’s really, we’ve had some really interesting conversations and some of the conversations have been around how we’re using so much more technology than we’ve ever used before in all industries, but certainly, in the glamping industry and unique holiday rentals, I’ve seen a real uptick in the amount of hosts that are using different types of software websites, management systems, all this kind of stuff, but in doing so, we also do, I suppose, potentially give away that human touch that we so often need.
Sarah Riley: And actually in this industry has always been a very valuable part of the service is making sure there’s that human touch, but with everything that’s happening with a health crisis and that the human touch isn’t necessarily something that everyone’s welcoming at the moment. And we have to be a bit careful with, you know, distancing. And I really hope that we’d be able to talk about few things that you’ve seen from your umbrella view of things that have worked in the industry, things that hosts have, and potentially things that we can all learn from. So is there anything you specifically have discovered that stood out to you,
Andy McNulty: about this particular period we’re in or, or generally even before
Sarah Riley: Well, both really, I suppose it’s that fondness period what people have done, but also have you seen things in the past prior to this period that you thought have just been so good
Andy McNulty: Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve been talking about guest experience and I always, always kind of hate the word guest experience, this phrase guest experience, because what not hate it, but just because it’s very difficult to define what that actually means. and we’ve always thought about guest experience as the, the bit that that starts from the moment they search and find your place through the booking through post booking, through pre-stay through the stay and through post-stay. In other words, it’s the entire cycle. Whereas a lot of people think, Oh, the guest experience is about when someone arrives. and it’s really not, because first impressions count doesn’t they, and we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, but the reality is, well, this industry that, that very much counts my eyeballs on your website or the ease of finding you are my first impression and with so much, increasing professionalism that has happened over the last couple of years in the very best sense of that, because professionalism can often mean well corporate-y and no, the best sense of that.
Andy McNulty: it does mean that, that I will have lots of other choices as a guest. And so we’ve been talking about that for, a number of years even before COVID. And in fact, we have spoken, we being, us as a, as a company, but actually, also Tyann, who’s our community ambassador. And I, we often talk at conferences and events about the guest experience and we try to break it down into, the stages of the guest journey a little bit, like what I described just now. So it would be pre, sorry, it would be booking post-booking pre-arrival during the stay and then post-stay. So those, those five kinds of phases, and we’ve got lots of really good examples of people doing fantastic things in each of those stages. The one that we very often case study, it’s not a glamping one, but I don’t think it needs to be a glamping one.
Andy McNulty: I think that it, it, the lessons that we can learn from this are applicable to any form of accommodation. It’s a customer of ours called beside the sea holidays. They have about 45 places in CAMBA sands on the, on the South coast, in the, in the UK. And they, despite having 45 short-term rental properties, they managed to appear very personal in everything they do. So if you have a look at beside the sea holidays website, you’ll see very much, it’s Richard, Sophie. the two of them, the husband and wife team, but it’s not just them, it’s their son off and it’s Dougal the dog and those, those four are you a team And of course they have, you know, a very important cleaning crew, et cetera, but you always get the sense that you’re a part of that family and that, that isn’t a kind of a, a throwaway, let’s put it on the website and try and pretend that’s what we are.
Andy McNulty: So that perception doesn’t become reality. It’s very much a case of perception meets reality. So not only am I as a guest and my judging you on first impressions, but I know that those first impressions are going to be the reality as well, and they have a date. So they start with a website, but they make the booking process easy. They’ve got a beautiful copy on there. Lots of lovely articles. But beyond that, the moment you book with them, you get a nice email back from them. And often what I found staying in places over the years with my family, et cetera. So over many years, look at my gray hair. I have found that there is often this kind of tumbleweed ghost town thing that exists post-booking and pre-arrival where it’s all men. And I know people don’t think this, I know the person I’m staying with.
Andy McNulty: Doesn’t think this, but it’s almost like, thank you for your booking. I’ve got your money. I’ll see you when you check-in, you know, or not. And there’s a whole heap of opportunity. Post booking pre-stay, where me as a guest, it’s, it’s ready to consume. It’s ready to get excited. It’s ready to feel the energy, particularly as I approach my stay. And yes, I want to see an email confirming my booking and dates of stay. And probably you will send me the terms and conditions or some kind of contract or whatever your process is to, to formally, you know, get all the nuts and bolts in. But I also want like, to feel emotionally connected to the place. I am spending very often, a lot of money, possibly the largest sum that I would spend on anything in a year by my mortgage, probably.
Andy McNulty: and yet there’s this, there’s this mismatch between the love and attention I get. And I don’t mean to sound kind of needy, but this is, this is the reality. I think a lot of guests these days is that they are hungry for that information. And so I would take, I would take a look at beside the sea, and I know you can’t book a place and see that the process post booking, but trust me, that that’s what happens. They curate messages through you through to you before your stay. And then when you arrive, in fact, before you arrive, you get, access to, this is my small plug. You got access to the touch, they guide book, their touch, the customer, which tells you everything you need to know by your stay, but that’s a great help because it takes away that pain of me having to know where do I pick the key up
Andy McNulty: what time do I have to be there again Where do I park when I get to canvas ads Because it’s notoriously awful for traffic, you know, et cetera, all those things. So I get that. And then when I arrived, there’s a beautiful note handwritten note on the table. this time, I think I’ve stayed with them a couple of times this time, I believe there may be a bottle for Lyme, like a small case of macaroons. I think there was a loaf of bread, all from the local farm shop. And then they check in with you. So after, after 24 hours, it’s not intrusive at all, but because they live onsite, they, you get a little knock on the door and it was socially distance. Last time I was next, it was, it was August. So it was a conversation from the doorstep. and, and it just was the whole package all the way through of the personal touch. And so, so round, so coming back to your original question, that’s a great example to check out, and is, is, is the theme that we have been discussing a lot pre COVID about the personal touch and combining that with technology,
Sarah Riley: I couldn’t agree more, especially about the guest experience and also as a mother and, you know, part of a family of four when I book a holiday and I go away, I get a bit anxious, you know, have I made the right decision I’m like, am I going in the right direction in terms of, you know, getting there and directions and you know, what am I going to find when I get there and is my car going to be okay, going down the lane, all of these things, which can be dealt with in that pre-booking or pre attending the actual location phase. And I think I really do love that. I think that super important, especially to generate that connection so that you already, before when you’ve arrived, you always feel that you know them, you like them and you trust them to give you a good holiday. And for me, that’s essential as a mom.
Andy McNulty: Yeah. I agree with you. I glossed over a little bit, that sense of, security, trust in, experiencing something that I thought I’d bought versus the reality of it. You know, you can go into, you know, we don’t do this very often, but I used to work at Gucci. So you could go into a Gucci store and you could buy a really expensive handbag, but you’d, you’d never took a chance on it because you knew that it was going to be fantastic and you could touch it and feel it and smell it. And that was the real deal. But you can’t often do that in our industry. And so you, the point you made is it’s a really, really interesting one. It’s not just about me wanting to feel emotionally connected and kind of loved in a way through, my experience with you.
Andy McNulty: But it’s also, can you give me the good feeling that I’m staying with like a, somebody who’s going to deliver them, what they say, but be in a place that is going to be like it was when I saw it on the website. And sadly, I think there’s still a huge chunk of us who are, but chore when we book that we’re going to get that. I think if we were to book a premiere in w w my daughter’s going off to university recently, so I’ve been in and out premiere ends the law over the last few months, visiting universities. And I booked them because, well, they’re nice and affordable, but I know exactly what I’m going to get. And I’m not interested in an experiential kind of stay with them, but I know what I’m going to get. And I feel very secure about making that transaction.
Andy McNulty: When you flip into, the glamping world or the Airbnb world, or the small boutique hotel world, the more sort of independent world, it’s harder to know what that brand stands for and, and the reality of, of what you’re buying. And, and I think that there are a couple of things that, that, that you can do. So the first obviously is social proof. So, I mean, if you’ve, if you’ve been operating for a while, hopefully, you’ve got, your reviews under control, and you’ve got a review snippet that you can put somewhere on your website, which links out to where they can read your reviews. and, I think it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s something that Richard and Sophia beside the sea, do they use FIFO for their reviews and, thinks I’ve got two review standards. I think one is around experience and one is around, quality or there’s, there are two differences.
Andy McNulty: but in both cases, they’re pretty much butting right up on the five. That’s like, it’s, it’s 4.9 plus something like that, with lots and lots of them. And they’re, they’re avid about doing that. they also, try to get guests to leave Google reviews as well. I’m no SEO expert, but I’m led to understand that that, that kind of thing is quite important. Lovell, Hey, Google. but, I think reviews are really important, but, but I would say more than reviews. It doesn’t have to be that I see a review to understand and trust in something. It’s the quality of the photos. I see. It’s the quality of the copy that I see. and okay, maybe we don’t all read as much as we used to. and we’ve got fleeting attention spans, but that’s the very reason why having really excellent microcopy micro meaning it doesn’t have to be paragraphs and paragraphs. It can just be really to the point clever copy. and just a couple of lines of well-phrased copy that capture the essence of you. That doesn’t feel like corporate jargon speak can make all that difference about trust as well. so that, that’s my feeling of trust. I digress slightly.
Sarah Riley: Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think the other thing that you hit on there is expectations. So once you set the expectations, the right place, you’re much more likely to get a better review when people attend, because they know exactly what we’re going to get. They don’t have, you know, both ways as well. So hello, a lot of glamping sites, they might be down a dusty Lang, you know, and actually highlighting the fact that it isn’t the cleanest entrance because it’s, that’s what it naturally is because it says, for example, in it, an old quarry that’s been repurposed. It means you’ve got this amazing, beautiful location, but you do have a bit of dust. And so setting the expectation means that the reviews stay really good. And I know SEO expert either, but I do understand that Google is about to change its algorithm. And one of the major changes it’s going to introduce is, ex an experience from the user.
Sarah Riley: And that could be the experience of people actually going through your website, but also the experience, if you have an off-site as off-website service, such as guest accommodation or camping business, that, they are also getting a good service when they are off Google. And so that comes obviously with reviews. So that’s going to be part of that whole change, and they were going to do it before COVID, but my understanding is they pushed it to after COVID and when things start settling down to take the pressure off of businesses, but it’s coming. And so people do really need to focus on their reviews across the web, not just on, on Google, but on social and social interactions and things like that. It’s really interesting how it’s all coming together and it’s important to, because it’s a holistic thing, you know, no one thing tells somebody if you’re a good service or not has to be all of these elements coming together as a, as a great big circle. So it’s really interesting. And I will definitely look up that business. Is there anything else that you’ve seen in your travels across, you know, this whole industry from you, you really are spread across so many different countries and so many different parts of this industry.
Andy McNulty: something you, you mentioned there, I think is quite interesting. It’s how you turn something which might be perceived as a negative into a positive. So almost like a non-USP into a USB. and that’s something that I’ve seen people do quite well. I can send you some examples after, after the call that maybe you could include in the notes, something for people to look at. but you know, like you just described, you’d say it’s a dusty road, or it’s a, it’s a potholed road, but the great drawer of that is you probably guess what I’m going to say. It’s that you’re, you’re about to experience something off the beaten path and, you know, there’s a spin there, you know, nothing worth, experiencing is ever particularly easy. So, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s ways of flipping that around. I have, I have read some, some things, either on your forum or someone else’s, I can’t remember about, you know, times when guests show up and the farmer has just, you know, put a load of manure out and it’s the winds blowing in the wrong direction.
Andy McNulty: And that sort of stuff of course, is, is hard to do in any positive way. but those are, those are kind of outside your control. I think the ones that are in your control are, are, are well worth flipping around. So I’ll send you a couple of examples of those. but I, I liked the people that, and, and I’ve seen this a lot. I like the people that bring, humanness to their words when they use technology. So, the, the great one is, is in, and we do it, we do it as well on, on our, on our products. And when you sign up, there’s a free trial during that free trial period, you get a series of emails. Those, those emails are authored by me, but they’re, they’re automated. So, this is a concept that I think a lot of us can, can take on.
Andy McNulty: Is there maybe we’ve got a MailChimp account or a constant contact, one of these mail service, programs, and that’s a great use of technology. And I definitely encourage everybody to try where they can to, to use those platforms, to nurture guests both current, but, and repeat, and try and stay in contact with those guests through regular updates provided you, of course, got the permission to do so, but that’s the technology that the, the technology is useless without the right kind of words that are sprinkled in there. And the ones that I see, doing it best are the ones that don’t try very hard with the copy. They just, they just write authentically, as if it’s not necessarily as if it’s them, but authentically meaning what their brand stands for and their brand doesn’t mean. I have to have, you know, a huge glamping site or a corporate business to have a brand.
Andy McNulty: The brand is, is one individual. You know, if you are warm, personal friendly, or remote professional, hands-off both are 100%. Okay. provided your, conveying that in everything you do and website, et cetera, which we spoken about, but more importantly in those emails that, that, that personality comes across. I think that’s terrific because it, it, it will match the perspective I took from your website when I booked, you know, that experience of what you stood for and what you told me, new website will flow through into those emails provided they’ve all been done genuinely. So that’s where I think, there’s some real games to be made is technology is great, and there’s tons of it to make processes efficient in our lives, hopefully, easier than not always. but there’s, there’s every opportunity in all of these to insert the human touch into it.
Andy McNulty: even a post-booking screen, you know, on your website can just, it doesn’t have to be, you know, but yeah, thanks. We’ll get in touch in 24 hours. Something, it can be like a nice page that happens afterward, which is a picture of you, if you’re that way inclined or, you know, in a short thank you message. And, you know, just a couple of lines, you know, it’s those sorts of things which are not difficult to do. but make that technology flip from machine to, to a personal field without you having to do this for every single guest, because the technology will take care of it for you.
Sarah Riley: Absolutely. And as we use technology more, the human touch is probably more and more needed, but when we’re going through the booking process and booking a holiday or booking your stay, we’re really excited, but we book, and that’s a big exchange of money. You touched, touched on it earlier. You know the only other thing you spend that much money on is your mortgage. And, you know, that’s scary, especially now with what’s going on. So actually two, you need to lift up that anxiety and say, you’ve made the right decision. Here’s, what’s waiting for you. This is the exciting thing that you’re about to embark on when you come and visit us and it’s that lifting them up so that they don’t get that, you know, after buying something, depression or anxiety, it’s that, yes, I’m really excited that I did that. And I’m, I’m now really planning for my stay. I’m going to think about what I’m going to take. I’m thinking about what I’m going to do when I go there and I’m going to do a bit more, you know, research around activities and, and, you know, the owner can make it really easy for them to do that. And it’s, it can just be a simple page on their website. Can’t giving them some easy tips and locals knowledge, on secret places to go and visit, to get them really excited about where they’re going and what they’re going to do. Yeah.
Andy McNulty: I, 100% agree with that. My, my, my, my whole reason for looking to start touch that many years ago was because, and my business partner, Joe had the exact same perspective, but, but from a different position, he he’s, he, well, he was at that point, a single person traveling a lot. I was married with kids traveling a lot, but we both had the same experience, which is that whenever we stayed with somebody, we, we, first of all, we were new to an area. And, I’m, I’m old enough that it wasn’t always flipped to Google and try and search for something. But even now, when you can flip to Google or look at TripAdvisor or something, it just takes forever to find something reputable, simple stuff. where’s a good place locally to go and get ice cream for my kids, or what is the best pizza restaurant.
Andy McNulty: and, and when you do those kinds of searches on the web, I kind of lose the will to live sometimes because you just get a sea of choices and then you find yourself kind of going down rabbit holes, you know, what’s the review on this one and like start reading reviews and, Oh, no, that’s got one bad review. I won’t go there. But you know, it really, it really is a bit of a minefield for a guest who has, after all, a really limited time to spend on holiday. And do we want to be doing lots of research and getting frustrated with finding good places or not doing research, taking a punt on something, not having the greatest experience and wasting money in the process, or as very often happened, because I am that kind of person, I would just ask the person I was staying with.
Andy McNulty: They would bother be emailing them or texting them or whatever, or calling them sometimes and saying, you know, w w where’s the ice cream place and all the time I would get these real nuggets back for like gold from people. Oh yeah. There’s one around the corner. It’s just a five-minute walk, you know, TBA and in an instant, I’d got the answer. And I knew that when I got there, it’d be great. And it was great when I got there. And those are the kinds of things that, that only, people who are local to that area, I E the people that are running the glamping site or the Airbnb of a small boutique hotel, you know, all of that stuff. and don’t underestimate the importance or the power of that. It’s this asset that you have, which you’re not charging for, but you’re certainly bringing value to the guests.
Andy McNulty: And hopefully the pay off is better reviews of much more satisfied guests. a guest who may share on social and who may tag your business, and a guest who will go back home and tell people about it, not tell people I got great ice cream now, but tell people, you know, I stay, I stayed at this really great place and they may not specifically say why it was, but all of these little things add up to a big, big, positive experience. So, yes, I think being able to curate things that your guests would typically want to know and do when they’re with you, even the basic things, maybe it’s not as relevant in glamping, but, whereas the nearest grocery store or the nearest farm shop or something like that, where I can go and stock up and come back and cook.
Andy McNulty: But, I don’t know, that was probably equivalent to in the glamping world, where’s the best place to get, you know, my fresh facial, something to cook outside, you know, I, I didn’t know what it might be, but all of those, you know, as a, as a, as a glamping owner, those things that your guests have either asked you multiple times in the past, or, don’t know about, but the, you know, that we’ll get a real kick out of package those things. It doesn’t matter whether you use a touch day to do it, or whether you use a Google doc to do it, or whether you just have like a, maybe not so relevant in this day and age, but a simple laminated printout. I would say not, but, but, I mentioned it because of course it’s, it’s always been an option.
Andy McNulty: So all of these things that, that just get them, get them in a format in a package where you can share that easily with your guests, so that if they do, and they’re not all going to read it, so you will still get that call or that text or that WhatsApp or something from the guests saying, and you’ll say inwardly, and you’ll be like, Oh, he’s got, I’ve started told them there. So all we have to do is direct them to the place where it is. So, you know, go in and have a look at this link where, you know, I sent you all, don’t worry, I’ll send it to you now. what’s your, what’s your tax number or whatever, and you just ping it to them. The moment you do that, they then see, not only that you’ve answered the question, but there are also all these other things that, that you’ve, you’ve, you’ve packaged up for them. interesting things for them to do and see. So I would say gather up that stuff that’s in your, in your mind, or maybe scattered around in various different leaflets and docs and put it on in one place, so that your guests can have easy access to it.
Sarah Riley: The host is obviously the expert to the local area, and they, they have so many nuggets of gold that they can share particularly around, you know, if they say on the coast, they know the secret surf spots. And if you know, they know that certain tracks that they can drive down to get to amazing places that other people don’t know, you know, maybe aren’t quite so busy and things like that, but obviously reducing the workload for the host. It’s also important to be fielding and shielding themselves from all of these questions, which can so easily be answered in one place is super important because hosts are so busy, they are so busy and they love what they do. And they love the fact they’re busy cause that means that the businesses prospering and, and so on, but it’s still great if they can use some technique to take that burden away without a negative impact on being able to generate and build a connection and some kind of relationship with the people who are going to stay with them, because the more that connection is built and that relationship is built, the more likely they’re going to return.
Sarah Riley: And that return is super important. As we know, because a returning guest is a cheap guest, you know, there’s no expense to getting that guest, you know, there’s no ads have had to have been put out. There’s nothing that’s had to be paid for. And that’s what you want returning guests. And you get that with that personal touch. And that’s what I really love about what you do. You allow the owner, the host to really give that personal touch in what they offer and the information they provide, but in this new kind of post COVID world in a way that it’s really simple to use and doesn’t require, something that people have to touch or print or handout, or, you know, give hand to hand that kind of thing, which some people are a bit nervous about now.
Andy McNulty: Yeah, I agree. I, I, I, I run a lot and I always find it difficult to know where to run when I’m somewhere. And that’s a really good example. There’s, I mean, you don’t have to be a runner. You can be a Walker. And I guess, in the glamping wall, there’s going to be tons of people who want to do that kind of stuff. And that walking is not, so we have an integration with Google places. So it works really well for restaurants. If you want to add restaurants, you know, you pull it from Google without having to manually do it, but a walking route isn’t a Google place. but you can, and it doesn’t have to be that, utilize our software to do it, but you can, you can, on our software, you can put a pin on a map for the start of a jogging reach or a walking route, but that sort of thing can easily be done on a, on a Google map.
Andy McNulty: You can just drop a pin there and show people. So I think those sorts of things, yeah, like I was saying, didn’t have to be the ice cream or the pizza or the grocery store, but it can be, as you’ve said, the secret beach, the walking spot, the hiking route, the jogging path, that kind of stuff. but I would also say you touched on it there it’s, it’s how you get that to the guest. and it’s one thing creating this lovely asset. but what we see is a lot of people make the mistake of thinking I’ve done that the hard work’s done, and I can just put my feet up. I know you guys don’t put your feet up, but in sense of this, creating this asset, I can wash my hands of that piece incorrect because unless you get it to guests, unless you make the guests know that it’s there, it’s lost, it’s wasted effort.
Andy McNulty: And so many people put it in their booking confirmation email, or here’s a link to our guide, or they don’t do that. They, they do send it to the guests separately in a, in a separate email, you, by the way, using technology. So if you’ve got a, whether, whether you use a management system and you’ve got emails to automate through that management system, or if you don’t have a management system and you’re doing this, from your Gmail account or Hotmail or whatever, or your business account, you can just create templates, email templates in there. And, you know, you’ve got your own processes. So at some point in there just add another email, but don’t, don’t, assume that that one email is then going to be this moment where the guests go, Ooh, you know, and fantastic. You know, and yeah, I’m never going to ask you a question again, that’s not going to happen.
Andy McNulty: So think about multiple ways that you can get that information to the guests. So post-booking great. but if you can see another email, maybe even two, and it sounds like, Oh, he’s telling me to write loads of emails. No, it just, just, you just create them once and then set them in your existing process like we just described. and, and in the content of that, it isn’t, Oh, I’ve created a great set of information here for you. click here. It would be, we’ve created a really rich guide for you that includes this and lots of other information, colon, bullet, bullet, bullet, how to find us what time checking is, what the wifi, you know, whatever we always say, whatever your top three to five frequently asked questions are from past guests, put those as your bullets and then the next line underneath that.
Andy McNulty: And lots of other useful content as well. Something words to that effect. and, and that’s important because that’s not only what we’ve spoken about there is how often you send it to guests via email. But what you say in that email to encourage the guests to understand this, isn’t just this weird sort of guide that I didn’t really need, because I’ll ask them when I get there kind of thing. It’s really super important to help them to plan their arrival as well as when they’re there. And then if you can, and this is great during COVID QR codes have made us strong comeback, and not only COVID, but I think just because you used to have to have to download an app to, to read a QR code, didn’t you, whereas these days you just point your camera at it. So just have a, a small, a small card.
Andy McNulty: It doesn’t have to be much bigger than kind of this kind of like booklet, you know, with, with a QR code on there, sat, you know, somewhere prominent in the entrance to the bell tent or wherever it might be, with a similar kind of thing, you know, we’ve created this, this really useful guy just pointing your camera at it. It gives you bullet bullet bullet, and they’ve arrived. So you don’t need to say check-in time how to find this, but it could be, you know, the nearest surf spot, the great walking path, you know, that kind of stuff. and then they scan it in therein, so I think that, I’ve, well, I think I’ve seen lots of people create beautiful guides that are out of this world. And in my opinion, the kind of people that do this really represent the very top end of hospitality, because they value this, they understand that guests value this. They don’t see it as a nice to have. It’s really an integral part of the entire experience, but then they don’t follow through on, getting it to guests. Well, they do, but they send it that once that I described. So I think thinking about this series of things that, that you can expose your guide to your guests, as well as how you make it clear, what the value of that is is, is as important as the content itself.
Sarah Riley: Yeah, really good tips. And I, I like the idea as well of if you have guests who have children, you know, put something in there that will tempt them to get something for their child that’s in your guide, but it just so to also expose them to all this other really helpful information. So for example, that we have a treasure hunt on our site, which so many glamping sites are able to do because they have a lot of land and buildings and places to explore. And so the parent will say, Oh, let’s download the treasure hunt and get the child excited, but in doing so, they also, particularly, if they use touch day, they will say, see all these other things that host has put effort into, to, to make available for everyone. I think that’s really helpful probably.
Andy McNulty: And, and, and there will always, there will always be guests who still ask those questions. I mean, it’s just where we’re humans. Like, I, I still will. but when you get that question like we were saying earlier, it’s like the inward side accounts, three kind of thing, but, just send them directly into the guide, whether it’s us or whatever product you’re using, send them into the guide. And without, as you can get a matrix of links that you can send people directly to the relevant parts of the guide straight away in doing that, you have, like we said earlier, answered the question and then, and then expose them again. Despite the previous attempts, you’ve now exposed them again to what are other things they could find within the guide. so yeah, unfortunately, we, there will always be guests. He won’t read, but, you know,
Sarah Riley: Absolutely. And there will definitely always be them. So you, no matter what you do, no matter how hard you work, but one good thing to try and catch those last few who haven’t accessed it before they come to you is to send an email just before they’re about to leave, to come to visit you, which says, this is what you need to know before you leave home. And that’s just one of the things that could be enough to motivate them, you know, to open that email and find the link to the guide, which has the information they need. And, yeah, it’s fantastic, but I love your word there. Your description, when you said a rich guide, we’ve created a rich guide. People love that, that you’ve put effort into putting this really good content together and curating it. So that kind of language also really works. Doesn’t it
Andy McNulty: Yeah, it does. When we get bombarded with stuff down way and, you know, I feel for any guest up there because I’ve experienced it myself, my inbox, my personal inbox is, is full. and unfortunately, we do need to be told many times, but you’ve, you’ve made the really, really important point is that, no matter how many emails I’ve got probably the day before, I’m about to travel, I’m in a mode of right. What do I need there was that email I saw Where is it You know, but if I get another prompt, I mean, you can send it by text or WhatsApp as well, of course. Cause ultimately it’s just the link to your guide somewhere. that, that would be really important. And actually thinking about that with the form of delivery, we didn’t talk about that. It could, it could be email, text, WhatsApp, or any other
Sarah Riley: Messaging platform you use, because we all consume content in different ways that way. and, yeah, so I think that’s a great idea where if there’s, if there’s a, if there’s a, a last-minute kind of thing you could do, to get the information to guess, I think it will have real punch. So, so good, Andy, thank you so much. There are some really fantastic nuggets of gold bear that you shared. And I think people will come away some with some excellent tips on how they can really get connected with their guests, even before they arrive at the beginning of that. you know, that the guest experience when they’re on their website first making the booking and, yeah, and I think that touch date definitely from my perspective, really helps for that to allowing the owner to maybe just, you know, put things into a different format that they may not have done before.
Sarah Riley: One of the things over the COVID period that, or, you know, we’re not out of the woods yet, but certainly at the very beginning, when owners were getting very anxious about changes, they were going to have to make on site. One of the things they found as they were trying to remove a lot of, documentation in their units, such as the guest guide book and things like that, things that they’d spent so much time putting together and we’re really proud of. but it was a physical thing that was going to go from hand to hand to hand. And they, they were really worried about how were they going to keep it clean How were they going to keep it safe owners to sorry for guests to pass from, get one guest to another. So they decided to use a bit of technology to remove that risk. and many of them chose yours and I know that there’s been some great feedback. So thank you so much today, Andy, for everything that you’ve shared. You’re welcome. Hopefully, hopefully it was helpful.
Sarah Riley: And thank you for having
Sarah Riley: Me. No problem until I hope see you again in the Facebook group and, yeah.
Sarah Riley: Forward to sharing some more nuggets of gold with you soon. Absolutely. If we do better work, everyone benefits, we benefit our guests benefits and ultimately, so does our bottom line. If you want to develop your own digital guest book, then I highly recommend you speak to Andy at touch state and remember to use your discount glam 10. So I hope you can join me again because I have some great guests lined up, but until then take care.